Recent trends in software development market show that it is no longer the most efficient way to work onshore. Competition is too high and in some particular cases, US or European IT people even go farming rather than admit the situation and adapt themselves. This article is mainly for those who are going to stay straight in the industry whatever surprises it keeps bringing.
International division of labour has done its work. So nowadays, if you ask anybody about the regions he associates with IT-industry, you'll get quite a short list: India, China, Russia, Eastern Europe. No wonder, historically these regions had the most efficient technically oriented education. In addition to lower cost of labour in the East, that is their main selling point, which determines their competitive strength.
As a logical sequence, almost each leading company engaged in IT sphere, whether publicly or secretly, outsources a part of its current work to third parties, often offshore. No wonder that Indian and other offshore software development companies prosper.
So what are the key factors that make companies outsource?
1.Cost of labour is often several times less than onshore.
2.There is no need to maintain the whole technical infrastructure
3.Company can concentrate mainly on marketing tasks
Although that sounds good and promises several times bigger profits, incautious outsourcing can be a trap for any company. Don't forget that you entrust your reputation to a company that is thousands miles away. Hence, if you have made a decision to outsource a part or the whole project to some company, you should take into consideration five simple tips.
Make proper research
The simplest way to find offshore software development companies is to try search engine or relative online directories. However, there is no guarantee that under inspirational promises any website has, you won't find cheaters. Spend several hours and try to find the most info about the companies you have selected. Search engines should be your best friend in these efforts.
Consult alliances and associations
Almost each country where IT industry is well developed has national alliances of software development companies. These pools of developers can become your first step in search for an outsourcing company.
When you have decided to contact several, as you think, most reliable companies, you shouldn't provide them with complete info regarding your project at once. Keep a little intrigue and give the info partially. That will make you aware about professionalism of companies' project managers as well as about their communication policy. Communication is what you will appreciate during the whole project's development. Therefore, it is better to find out whether they are communicative enough before you sign the contract.
Ask for references/samples
Although offshore developers cannot disclosure their recent contracts, anyway, they have several clients that can provide you with references whether they are bad or good. If there are no references at all, ask for some software the company has developed. See and try each example of their work you can. That will make you aware about the quality of their services.
Phone or visit them
The best way to test the company, which you would like to outsource to, is contact them directly. Emails are good, but you can find out more info about the possible partners if you phone them. At least you will know about their command of English (don't forget, you are going to outsource abroad) and their real interest. Additionally, you can make them relax a little, so they will be less defended against your research of true situation. If you visit them personally you'll see exactly who and where will work for you. At least, if the company doesn't mind you visit them, that can mean that they are open enough for collaboration and they have provided you with more or less true info.
If you can do at least three of these five steps, there will be little chances for you to be cheated by an unreliable company thousands miles away. You'll be able to experience that kind of wise outsourcing that can give you required competitive ability. Each time you are going to give some project for offshore development, take into account that you should be an initiator and wise decisions maker. Research, consult, and communicate. That's the motto of any company that is successful in outsourcing. It's not too complicated, is it?
Alex Polonski is a Senior Sales Manager in XITEX Software Company, Ukraine. The company works in offshore software development market since 1999 having fair expertise in J2EE and .NET technologies. Among company's own-developed and marketed solutions, one can see a J2EE content management system, Xitex WebContent M1.